Authorities in Chicago are looking into allegations that two local men accused of plotting an assault on a Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may be linked to other plots, including a terrorist assault in Mumbai last year that left more than 170 dead, sources said.
David Coleman Headley, who has cooperated with authorities, is being investigated as a scout for the Mumbai attack, which targeted multiple sites, including two hotels, a train station, a cafe and a Jewish community center. A source familiar with the probe said Headley's co-defendant in the newspaper case, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, is suspected to have paid for Headley's India missions.
the attacks. The militant Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, linked to Rana and Headley in court documents here, has been blamed for the Mumbai attacks.
The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has declined to say whether charges against the men here could be upgraded to account for their suspected roles in the Mumbai operation. U.S. citizens lost their lives in the coordinated attacks.
So far Headley, a Pakistani American, is charged with conspiring to commit a terror act outside the U.S., and Rana, a Pakistani native with Canadian citizenship, has been charged with providing material support to terrorism. Those charges relate only to the plan in Denmark, where Headley is alleged to have staked out the Copenhagen offices of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
Prosecutors here also have said Rana discussed other targets with Headley.
Indian authorities have reported they are trying to retrace the steps of both men, indicating they believe both men could have been in the country in 2007. The Chicago source said only Headley is believed to have traveled to India, while Rana is believed to have been the financier.
Both men are to appear in court in Chicago next week, Rana on Dec. 2 and Headley on Dec. 4. Both remain in custody. Rana's lawyer, Patrick Blegen, has denied the allegations. Headley's attorney, John Theis, declined to comment Monday.